Judge Brett Cullum marvels at how far we've come, when you can now be gay and married in America. Well, at least in Massachusetts!
They're back to tie the knot…or not?
While the rest of the world clamored for Sex and the City: The Movie, 2008 also marked the big screen treatment of Logo's breakout hit Noah's Arc. Many people had seen it as a more likable Queer as Folk centering around a group of African-American friends living in Los Angeles. It seemed like these were the guys whom the four girls in Sex and the City would be with a simple color change and gender flip. The show had been off since 2005, and fans wondered where it was and if the oft rumored film project would ever come out. The second season ended in a cliffhanger, so the movie picks up pretty much where we left off. Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom seeks to add closure to the story of struggling screenwriter Noah (Darryl Stephens, Another Gay Movie), his on-again, off-again boyfriend Wade (Jensen Atwood, Dante's Cove), flamboyant friend Alex (Rodney Chester, Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss), promiscuous party boy Ricky (Christian Vincent, Center Stage: Turn It Up), and prudish professor Chance (Douglas Spearman, Payback). Even Baby Gat makes an appearance before it's all over. The film was only released in big cities for a limited engagement, but it did quite well with audiences with theatrical screenings selling out days before its opening. Now the project comes to DVD, and finally we can find out what happens to everybody.
The story is about the wedding of Noah and Wade in Martha's Vineyard, conveniently in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal. The whole gang has relocated to celebrate the marriage ceremony in a huge East Coast seaside house that belongs to Wade's family. It's strange to see the sunny California guys trudging through snow and ice, and even stranger to see Noah and Wade considering exchanging vows. But of course nothing goes smoothly, and we have the obligatory twists and turns to give dramatic tension. Seems one by one each of the relationships is examined with intense critical scrutiny because of the idea of legal marriage and a lifetime of commitment. It begs the question, why would any gay man want to tie the knot or jump the broom?
If you liked the show, you'll love the film. It's that simple, since the movie is an hour and forty-five minutes of what we got in the two years it ran on Logo. The acting is a little wooden, the script has some clunkier turns, the dialogue feels leaden sometimes, but damn it if it still works in some strange way. The series was a labor of love from Patrik-Ian Polk, and the film remains just as passionate and fun. There's something about these guys that makes you smile and forgive any flaws. They're hot, they seem to honestly like each other, and they are truthful portrayals of gay black men. It is something we don't see enough of, and it's always fun to spend time with this group of characters. They are all unlike anything else on television or in the movies, and hopefully one day that will change.
On DVD we get a nice transfer married to a handful of extras. Colors are bright and well processed without much bleeding. Black levels are solid enough for this type of film. Overall it looks a bit like a cable movie, and that seems to be the aim. The extras are not exhaustive, but they are nicely appointed. There is a behind the scenes featurette which includes input from most all the major players with explanations of what the concepts were in doing this project as a movie. It runs just over twenty minutes. Next up we get director diaries which feature Patrick-Ian Polk talking from the set during production. That goes on with him and his cast for a little over twelve minutes. Next up is "Noah's Wedding Video" which features the climactic ceremony delivered to you as a home movie on video no less. The "Cast Photo Shoot" featurette is a cute look at the guys as they preen and pose for publicity shots in various states of dress and undress. Also included are a dozen deleted scenes and sequences which add extra character beats.
This is a fun wedding, and it's one any fan of the show would love to be
invited to. Logo probably should have kept the show in production to fill out
its programming, but nice to see the guys straight through for almost two hours
in a movie. The cable channel has given the DVD enough extras to make it worth
looking at instead of simply catching it on their schedule. Besides, on
broadcast television you'll never see the R-rated nudity. Noah's Arc: Jumping
the Broom is a rare treat, a glimpse in to a world with four friendly and
successful African-American men who define a new era in America. The real fun of
this wedding is how quaint it feels to see two men tie the knot, especially
after waiting all these years.
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